…Says “That’s the whole joy of living; I don’t want to exist, I want to live; I don’t want to conform to those delusion of grandeur that people impose on themselves in the name of being a celebrity”
By Christy Anyanwu
Iconic fashion designer, Ngozi Cardow, popularly known as Zizi Cardow, is an interviewer’s delight. The fair and unassuming creative director of ZC wears several caps that many people do not know about.
She is an ordained servant of God in the Cherubim & Seraphim Movement. She is High Chief Ada Ejiaga Mba of Isikwuato, Chief Obiala Ugo of Umuobiala, a Peace Ambassador just as she also has a doctorate degree. You might as well refer to her as Dr. Zizi.
Early this year, she held many people spellbound as they watched her on Facebook preaching the word of God on a short programme, “The Brook.” From her trendy, eclectic fashion sense, daring styles as a designer and being a happy-go-lucky celebrity, many were amazed.
In this interview, she gave reasons behind “The Brook” and lots more.
What informed your decision to start The Brook?
I wouldn’t say it’s me. I think it was informed by the Holy Spirit. It’s something that has always been there, but I have always been too shy or afraid or embarrassed to talk about or to face or do it. I was just worried about what society would say, the perception they were going to have about me. The fact that you might be seen as a Bible basher. But then, you remember what the Bible says, Christ said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you as well,” but, beyond that, it’s a calling. In the fullness of time, when you hear that call, you can do nothing, but obey. I have to a certain extent obeyed the voice in a closet, in a contained space. But it was the appointed time and I really wanted to share the word of God with the world. If you listen, it’s just about the goodness of God. It’s not a prosperity-based ministry, it’s just about who Christ is, nothing about it than love. Loving one another, loving one, learning to forgive oneself, learning to forgive another, learning not to be judgmental, to look beyond whatever it is, and us coming as we are.
How many episodes have you done so far?
I can’t remember. I started in January. That was the first episode. It was a dialogue-filled morning. I couldn’t say no anymore. That call, especially during the lockdown, was becoming stronger and stronger, but I wasn’t heeding it. I heard the Holy Spirit saying, why are you denying me, why are you not talking about me? I couldn’t give any answer that made sense. Since then, I have been doing something every Thursday. All the talks I have been coming up with were always inspired by the Holy Spirit. So far, I have had people calling from Sweden, Italy, different parts of the world, after each episode, telling me they now understand the Bible clearer because I simplified it. The Brook is not about doctrine, it’s not about denomination, and it’s not about anything, but just Christ and love.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you have been?
If I wasn’t a designer, I probably would have been a forensic detective because I love to know how things happen, why they happen. Maybe that’s one thing with introverts, though a lot of people might not believe that I am an introvert. As an introvert, I question a lot of things. I don’t take everything verbatim. I try to reason and come up with logical explanations. I want to know what is going on in the mind of a serial killer, or in the mind of some twisted human being. Like you see a dead body on the street, I want to know what happened, how it got there. I just want to know stuff, especially to do with the human mind, why we do the things we do, why we behave the way we behave.
As a successful designer, what’s your advice to upcoming ladies who want to be in your profession?
The only advice I might have for anyone who wants to do anything, no only fashion, is just being dedicated and focused. You must be hardworking. This is me at work. I am 54 and I am still working. I work many hours a day. It’s not a case of you having a rich husband or boyfriend who is funding the bills and, therefore, you can just sit down and relax. You have to work. You have to understand what you are doing. Be very aware of your surroundings, your clients and what exactly you are aiming at; be very conscious of that and work towards it. It’s all about perseverance. Most importantly, you need the grace of God, allowing God to be the one to direct you, to rule you. You know, sometimes, we get into vocations because everybody else is doing the same thing, but what if it’s not destined for you? If you are not working in the grace of God or in the line of what you want, you will just be there wasting time.
In the course of fame, do you still mingle with your old friends?
Those are the ones I still move with. You don’t see me in celebrity things, like, “Zizi Cardow is with this or that person.” I know a little of people in that circle, but my core friends are still those same people that I grew up with, that I knew 30, 40 years ago. Those are still my core friends. Funnily enough, I don’t have many friends. So, it’s very easy to maintain like that. My very good friend is not here. He is a guy, and he lives in London. My other very good friend, who is like a sister, is in Ghana. My other close friend that’s like my brother is the one seated there (points to him); so, I have very limited friends. Thank God for technology. You could just pick up a phone and have a long chat, but I think, most importantly, not having many friends keeps you away from trouble. When you have too many people around you unnecessarily, you start having too many tongues and tribes in your head.
As a celebrity, do you still buy corn and groundnuts or other edibles from the roadside?
I still do my usual thing. That’s the whole joy of living. I don’t want to exist, I want to live. I don’t want to conform to those delusion of grandeur that people impose on themselves in the name of being a celebrity: “l don’t do this, I don’t go there.” It does not take away anything. The whole of my street literally knows me. I feel comfortable when I’m coming in. It’s like the whole street are my security guards. Even if my security guard walks away, I don’t care because all the other houses’ guards are there for me. That’s the joy of living. When you put all those constraints upon yourself, you find yourself under that peer pressure. You want to do what others are doing. You don’t live your life. It’s not just fun.
What lessons have you learnt about life?
To allow yourself to love and, most importantly, to forgive yourself because, sometimes, maybe we hold on to stuff that happened, and you are thinking, “Maybe if I had done this differently, this wouldn’t have happened, my life wouldn’t have been this way.” Learn to forgive yourself. We make mistakes, yes, but we move on. If you hold on to that past, it won’t allow you to move forward. I have learnt to forgive myself. I have learnt to forgive others. Most importantly, learn to find happiness within myself. I have learnt that the minute you entrust your happiness to other people or circumstances, then you are giving away your freedom. My happiness is in myself. I have learnt to make myself happy. I don’t need man or woman or material things to be happy. I just find happiness within myself and within the love of God.